Yes, there is a connection. Researchers have demonstrated that when Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or stroke occurs, there is a sudden surge in the production of the A-Beta 42 peptide (“peptide” = “small protein”) which is consistently acknowledged as a key player in Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Exactly how TBI/stroke lead to increased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease is unclear at this point, but well worth immediate and intense research. The implications are obvious and ominous for combat soldiers, athletes and all of us who may suffer from TBI or stroke in the future. We need this research not only to break the link between TBI/stroke and Alzheimer’s, but also to understand better the origins of Alzheimer’s itself.
Dr. Giuseppina Tesco, now with the Department of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, has done pioneering work in this area at Massachusetts General Hospital, where her laboratory was part of the Genetics and Aging Unit. After her initial paper on the topic in the journal Neuron in 2007, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supported her continued pilot studies leading to her recent award of 2(!) RO1 grants from the National Institutes of Health for major studies in this field.
We congratulate Giuseppina on this important work and wish her and her colleagues success in helping to break this insidious link and learn more about how to stop Alzheimer’s disease.